(619) 505-7777

ALERT! HIV drug tenofovir increases risk of kidney damage

SAN FRANCISCO -- Patients who take one of the most widely prescribed drugs to treat HIV infection increase their risk of kidney damage by up to 34% every year they take the medication, according to a study of more than 10,000 HIV-positive veterans.

The study, by the San Francisco VA Medical Center and published online earlier this month, is one of the largest to address the long-term risk of tenofovir, an antiretroviral drug that is taken daily, usually in a single pill combined with other drugs.

Doctors have long known that antiretroviral drugs carried some risk of kidney damage, but how much -- and whether that damage is caused by a particular drug or combination of drugs, or by the HIV infection itself -- has been the source of much debate.

And it's a debate that is likely to become more heated. For many HIV-infected patients, the benefits of taking tenofovir and preventing full-blown AIDS will far outweigh the risk of long-term kidney damage. But some public health experts have begun to promote the drug for healthy individuals after recent research showed that tenofovir could prevent HIV infection.

To read the full story, click HERE.